MON AM News: Personal income growth in Wisconsin projected to lag national rate; Promega report highlights transition to renewables

— The state Department of Revenue predicts personal income growth in Wisconsin will lag the national rate this year and the next. 

That’s according to the latest economic forecast report from DOR, which shows personal income in Wisconsin is expected to rise 2.3 percent this year and 4.8 percent in 2023. That’s compared to 2.7 percent this year and 5 percent next year at the national level. 

But when adjusted for rising prices, real personal income in Wisconsin is forecasted to fall 3.3 percent this year before rising 2.2 percent in 2023, the report shows. 

Meanwhile, the agency says the tight labor market and inflation will “keep wage growth strong” this year. Wage and salary income this year is expected to see growth of 8.2 percent in the state and 9.4 percent nationwide. 

“However, inflation is biting into those wage gains, leaving workers with real wage income growth in the range of 2% to 3%,” report authors wrote. 

Drawing on federal data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the report shows total employment grew 2.1 percent in Wisconsin and 2.8 percent nationwide during 2021. And over the first four months of this year, employment in the state increased 2 percent year-over-year, falling behind the national rate of 4.6 percent. 

State employment is projected to increase 2.3 percent this year and 1.1 percent next year, “reaching its pre-pandemic levels of employment by the third quarter of 2023.” 

DOR’s report shows Wisconsin’s service sector “continues its strong recovery” after employment in leisure and hospitality fell 20.8 percent in 2020. It then rose 10.2 percent last year, and is expected to increase another 11.3 percent this year, per the report. 

And while employment in the trade, transportation and utility sector has “recovered its pre-recession employment level” in the third quarter of 2021 both in Wisconsin and nationally, the education and health services sector has yet to do so. 

By comparison, manufacturing and construction in the state has “fared better during the decline and the recovery,” report authors note, with continued growth projected for this year. 

See the report: 

— Promega has announced 20 percent of the electricity it uses now comes from renewable energy sources. 

In its 2022 Corporate Responsibility Report, the Madison-based biotech manufacturer says investing in solar arrays has helped the company boost renewable energy usage ten-fold in the past three years. 

Its three largest solar arrays are located at the company’s main campus in Madison, but other facilities in South America and Europe either purchase or generate their own renewable energy, per the report. 

The company has set a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 50 percent, water usage by 30 percent and landfill waste by 30 percent by 2030. Each of these goals are indexed to revenue over a 2019 baseline, the report shows. 

“Sustainable growth is our priority and our opportunity to integrate into our facilities and operations the environmental best practices from around the world that will better position Promega for the future,” Corey Meek, the company’s corporate responsibility program manager, said in the release. 

See the full report: 

See the release: 

— The founder of a Madison-based company operating indoor climbing gyms has signed onto a letter urging the U.S. Senate to “take bold urgent action” to address gun violence. 

Brad Werntz, founder and managing member of Boulders Climbing Gym, was one of over 200 executives calling for federal legislative action on gun violence following the latest series of deadly shootings. 

Boulders Climbing Gym, which has two locations in Madison, appears to be the only Wisconsin-based company featured on the list. But others with employees in the state include DICK’s Sporting Goods and delivery service DoorDash. 

The letter doesn’t include specific policy recommendations, but calls on members of the U.S. Senate to take “immediate action.” 

“Gun violence can be prevented,” the executives wrote. “Our families, our communities, and our places of business are depending on you. Stand with us and the American public. Put the safety of your constituents and their children first. Transcend partisanship and work together to pass bold legislation to address gun violence in our country.” 

See the full letter in a recent report from Axios: 

— The UW System Board of Regents has elected Karen Walsh president to succeed Edmund Manydeeds.

Presidents typically serve two one-year terms. But Manydeeds informed his colleagues this spring he wouldn’t seek a second term because of professional commitments to his law firm. He threw his support behind Walsh, a fellow appointee of Dem Gov. Tony Evers.

Along with electing Walsh as president, the board tapped Amy Blumenfeld Bogost as vice president.

Like Walsh, Bogost is an Evers appointee. The Dem guv now has 11 of the 16 appointments to the board. Tracey Klein, an appointee of former GOP Gov. Scott Walker, announced she is resigning from her term one year early, opening the door to Evers making another appointment to the board.

But only Walsh and Manydeeds have been confirmed by the GOP-controlled state Senate. The unconfirmed appointments could be rescinded early next year if a Republican wins the guv’s race this fall.

Walsh is director of the BerbeeWalsh Foundation, a family foundation dedicated to human and animal health and welfare.

Bogost is a lawyer focused on representation of victims of sensitive crimes and federal Title IX.

Traditionally, presidents serve a maximum of two one-year terms and are succeeded by the vice president. But the board broke with that tradition last year in electing Manydeeds, an Evers appointee, over then-Vice President Mike Grebe, who was appointed to the board by Walker.

See the release:

— The Board of Regents has also approved a new business major at UW-Eau Claire, a release from the university shows. 

UW-Eau Claire can now establish a bachelor of business administration degree in business communication. This is the first such degree available in the UW System, according to the release. 

The university already had a certificate program for this area of study, which students can still attain. 

“Students in this new business communication program will have a strong foundation in business coursework and essential communication skills to apply across a wide range of business functions,” Provost Patricia Kleine said in the release.

See details: 

— Black pancreatic cancer patients in Wisconsin were half as likely as white patients to get treatment for the disease, according to a recent study from the UW Carbone Cancer Center. 

Dr. Noelle LoConte, associate professor of medicine and a pancreatic cancer specialist at the center, was the senior author for the study. Results were published in the Wisconsin Medical Journal. 

It included 8,490 patients in Wisconsin diagnosed with a form of pancreatic cancer between 2004-2017. According to the release, white patients lived for 9.6 months on average following diagnosis, compared to 8.6 months for Black patients. 

Researchers at the center found non-Hispanic Black patients in the state were 50 percent less likely than non-Hispanic white patients to “receive any treatment at all,” a release from UW Health shows. And non-Hispanic Black patients were 30 percent less likely to undergo surgery to address their cancer. 

The study included statistical models to analyze the impact of factors such as insurance coverage or household income. Black patients from counties with higher income levels and the same level of insurance coverage as white patients had higher survival rates. But the disparities persisted “unless the Black patients received the same level of care” as white patients, the release shows. 

“We found that access to care mitigates racial disparities,’’ LoConte said in the release. “With that in mind, we in healthcare have a responsibility to address and break down the structural factors that can create barriers for Black patients to request and receive treatment.”

See the study: 

See the release: 

— The latest seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases in the state is 1,639 cases per day, the Department of Health Services dashboard shows. 

The decline comes after the average reached 2,200 cases per day in mid-May. It remains five times as high as in March, when the seven-day average fell to 316 cases per day. But it’s still far below the previous peak of nearly 19,000 cases per day seen in late January. 

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state’s northeast region was rising by 30 percent between May 25 and June 7. No significant change was seen in the rest of the state during that period. 

The Wisconsin Hospital Association site shows 375 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, including 54 intensive care patients. Both of those numbers declined slightly over the past week. 

The number of Wisconsin counties in the “high” category for a CDC measure remains at 11, the DHS site shows, reflecting the lower level of COVID-19 activity around the state. Last month, 18 counties had high community levels of COVID-19. 

See the latest case numbers: 

Track hospitalizations: 

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